Founders Backwoods Bastard - Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Backwoods BastardFounders Backwoods Bastard

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7,025 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,025
Reviews: 1,650
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 10.37%
Wants: 891
Gots: 2,494 | FT: 248
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CortexBomb on 01-30-2007

"Wee Heavy", cave aged in oak bourbon barrels.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,025 | Reviews: 1,650
Photo of Bone53
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Mad Mex

Appearance: Ruby brown with a finger of beige head

Smell: The oaky, vanilla bourbon barrel qualities meld great with the sweet caramel and toffee malt notes

Taste: Sweet caramel and toffee notes upfront then the vanilla and oak from the barrels really shine.

Mouthfeel: Full body; Really coats the palate going down, with thin alcohol and moderate bitterness on the finish

Overall: Really a wonderful beer, especially during these winter months. The sweet malts compliment the bournon barrel quailities very well. I dont know if this is what i imagine the perfect BBA scotch ale to be, but its damn close. The warmer it got the higher i rated it

Photo of letsgopens
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a really pleasing, deep copper/cedar with a nice thick beige head that holds well and leaves some average lace. A decent amount of small rising bubbles. Very appetizing.

Initially malty in the nose with some dark fruit and a light slightly vanilla bourdon hint. Certainly those oak barrel characteristics are in full effect.

Now for the taste. Wow, really complex. There is a lot there flavor-wise. Many times in bourbon barrel aged brews there is a lot of the harsher characteristics of the bourbon, but not that gorgeous, inherent complexity of flavor. The vanilla really comes out, as does the slight floral note and fruitiness. Roasty and warm with some malty sweetness, honey, molasses and the subtle smoky note of charred oak. Mellow but very pronounced. Exactly what I was hoping for. Just a hint of booze in the finish, but not at all harsh. Founders really hint the nail on the head with this one.

Smooth and velvety on the tongue with moderate carbonation. Full, buttery finish that lingers a bit on the palate. I'm often not big a fan of many similar selections, but this one really captured the most appetizing qualities from the barrels without dragging some of the overpowering harshness along. Another fantastic selection form Founders

Photo of morimech
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I think this is the ultimate winter beer. Full of complex aromas and flavors and enough booze to keep you warm. Pours a ruddy brown color with a small tan head that quickly settles to bubbles around the glass. Some sticky lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is a mixture of vanilla, caramel, scotch, rich malt, and some earthiness. The flavor likewise is complimented nicely by barrel aging. Hints of vanilla and scotch along with the richness of the malt makes this a nice sipper. Alcohol warmth in the finish. Full body with carbonation that gives the beer a nice soft texture. Fits this beer nicely. This beer is a sipper so that limits drinkability.

Photo of ShanePB
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle less than two months old. Served from the bottle at Canal St Pub, poured into a 12 ounce goblet.

A: Rustic amber bronze colored body, fairly clear though not completely. Tiny tan head forms but quickly dissipates, leaving almost no lace behind unless you have it a vigorous pour to form more of a head.

S: Boozy bourbon notes, wood, oak, vanilla and some roasted malts. The bourbon is the focus all while the Scotch Ale style aromas try to break through. If you love bourbon, this is probably one of the most aromatic non-stout barrel aged beers I've come across. Intoxicating, smooth and boozy; wonderful.

T: Bourbon dominates yet again, but it's not harsh or overly boozy. You know it was bourbon barrel aged on first sip, and if you don't care for the spirit, you won't like this. Complex toffee, vanilla and faint yeasty notes are mid-palate. Warming on the swallow and into the linger in the back of the throat to the chest. Ridiculously smooth, blended and balanced. Hands down, this is my favorite Scotch Ale I've ever tasted.

M: Incredibly smooth, lower on the carbonation but enough to break up the flavors and provide balance. Feels like drinking a very well made, crafted bourbon whiskey.

Backwoods Bastard was a very early beer I had when I first started drinking craft beer, and while I do remember enjoying it I don't think I appreciated it as I do now. It's so complex, flavorful and smooth; unlike many other bourbon barrel aged beers. One of my Fall favorites that I cannot get enough of.

Photo of mirish72
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lucky enough to pick this up the other night. Have heard great things so I was psyched to find it and didn't even flinch at the $15 price tag.

Poured into a Chimay goblet. Poured a dark copper, caramel color with a little lacing.

On the first whiff, I noticed was the amazing bourbon aroma. Upon another sniff, the beer had an incredicle mix of burnt, smokey, oakey aromas, really complex but amazing.

It has an equally complex taste, one that was multi-layered and seemed to get better with every sip. It definitely handles the impressive malts, but it also balanced the alcohol well. You can tell this is strong (10.2%), but it really works well.

I am usually not a huge fan of Scotch ales, but this is the cream of the crop. A really amazing beer, I am going to pick some more up to age in the cellar. Also, you gotta love the artwork and the labeling on the packaging. Really a perty brew.

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to ralflord for the trade! This was the apparently more 10.5% batch with a different label than that on display.

Pours a solid dark brown (not black) with chestnut highlights. About a finger of khaki head that mellows to a thin foam & leaves a little lacing, but not much. Light action from bubbles, real light.

The smell -- YOWZA!! Smells great -- actually, I usually get the first indication of flavor from licking the cap, & was struck by significant sweet, caramel malt. Actually, chocolate chip cookies came to mind. The smell transported that and a maple smell, plus the sweet sting of bourbon barrel. One of the best smells I've partook.

The taste delivers on all those notes, finishing with a strong bourbon taste & alcohol presence. Oh, the caramel, oh the smoky notes, oh! The mouthfeel is rich & full without being overly unctuous. This is such a good idea -- a bourbon barrel-aged wee heavy. I hate to sound like a beentheredonethat, but the BB-aged imperial stouts are more common & leave a thick, heavy impression -- not bad by any stretch, but heavier & requiring more commitment. This imparts all the sweet & woody flavors without the intense viscosity. I'm into it!

Drank one, could drink another.

Photo of brokenleadedcask
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stored for 3-4 months and poured into a snifter

A- Pours deep amber but still is translucent

S- Single barrel bourbon, Werther's caramel candy

T- Oak, vanilla, tobacco, a pinch of smoke, notes of coconut (is this right?) and a little spicy

M- Great mouth feel, flavorful but still light enough. For my taste not hot at all

D- I love the flavor profile on this one, sentimental beer for me. I am completely content with drinking 2 of these and nothing else, then going to bed a happy man

Overall- My favorite Wee Heavy/Scotch ale and was lucky enough to drink quite a bit of it in 2008

Photo of JDizzle
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle. 10/7/11 dated

A: dark brown the a little light coming through. not much head and lacing tracks down the glass.

S: Smells like bourbon bliss with a sweetness that makes you want to chug tons! A malty sugar sweet smell complinents the heavy bourbon barrel whiff you get. Very nice!

T: Boy, this is like bourbon heaven!! I have had this numerous times, but it seems as if it's been soaked in that barrel for a long time. Really strong bourbon and barrel taste with a sweet old ale base that makes it a delight. I had this on tap recently and was not impressed, but this bottle is influencing me for the better. I am digging this beer!

M: Taxing,but not overly done. The bourbon will wax you over a few, but one or two of these is perfect. Medium carbs with a nice mouthfeel.

Really good bourbon barrel style old ale that I will buy more of in the future. Thanks Founders!!!

Photo of gatorhophead
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cracked my first bottle tonight and poured half the bottle aggressively into a 13oz snifter.

A.) Pours a dark reddish-brown with about a 1/4" head which fades pretty quickly, but leaves a nice lacing on the glass,

S.) A total assault on the olfactory receptors, cherries, molasses, bourbon, oak, chocolate, and boozy. Is this really beer?

T.) Just like it smells, starts out with with sweet dark fruit flavors and bourbon giving way to hints of molasses, chocolate and oak with a boozy warmth at the finish

M.) Slightly creamy, but not syrupy as the smell might suggest and just the right amount of carbonation.

D.) Certainly not the most drinkable 10% beer I've had, could probably drink one more, but it's one of the most unique.

This is one fantastic beer and I'll be buying some to cellar

Photo of portia99
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2009 release. Poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a thick, deep amber color, almost brown until held to the light...nearly opaque. No head at all, just a thin collar of cream colored bubbles around the edges.

S - Sweet and caramelly up front. Sugar, bourbon and an overall fruitiness make up the aroma profile on this one. As it warms, vanilla becomes much more dominant. Reminds of a night in a bar in SF with Noa Noa vanilla goodness. Amazing aroma on this beer.

T - Bourbon up front, followed by a big hit of vanilla. Alcohol makes it presence well known. Sweet and malty, lots of caramel, leaves a sugary sweetness coating the lips. Some oaky wood flavors too. Very complex, and quite good.

M - Thick and full bodied. I wouln't call it syrupy though. Carbonation is low to medium, which is appropriate, and I feel complements the flavors in this beer. Smooth and thick, coats the mouth with sweet, sugary, and vanilla bourbon flavors...really nice.

D - Hmmm...hard to say totally. I think this ultimately is a sipper...10.2% alcohol and plenty of bourbon in the nose and flavor...but it is so smooth, it really begs you to take sip after sip after sip. On a really snowy day, sitting in front of the fire after dinner with one of these is just the right combination. For what it is, really good...but more than one of these will cause me some problems for sure.

Photo of Damian
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. (355 ml) bottle purchased at Downtown Wine & Spirits, Somerville, MA
Bottled on 9/28/12
Served in a snifter

With an aggressive pour, a billowing, three-finger tall, super tight and creamy, khaki colored crown topped the turbid, chestnut-mahogany liquid. The head settled into a thick dollup of bubbly foam. Thick, patchy streaks of lacing trickled down the glass.

The aroma was amazing. Super rich and robust. Very malt forward with loads of caramel and toasted malts. Bourbon notes came through strong. Lots of fragrant vanilla. Heavy dose of toffee and brown sugar sweetness. Super raisiny and figgy. Slightly spicy.

Boozy, bourbon notes hit hard right off the bat in the flavor profile. Like the nose, the beer was very malt dominant. Copious amounts of sweet caramel malts were apparent. Tons of fresh vanilla bean. Dark fruit notes (raisins, plums and figs) came through strong in the center. Somewhat spicy. The finish was very hot, almost to the point of being stinging. As the beer warmed and the flavors became more pronounced, the booziness seemed to be less of an issue.

On the palate, the beer was somewhat thinner than expected. Moderately creamy. Soft and supple with a fine, mellow effervescence.

If you can get past the overwhelming booziness of this beer, you will likely be blown away by the amazingly rich, robust and complex flavor profile. I cellared my bottle for a year and thought that it was far smoother than how I remembered the glass that I had on-tap. All in all, Backwoods Bastard is a fantastic example of what barrel aging can do to a fairly ordinary base beer.

Photo of soughtbygod
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer pours a dark muddy brown that is very cloudy and thick with an off white two finger head.

The smell is boozy, bitter chocolate, oak, and vanilla

The taste is awesome, so awesome its like barrel aged tootsie rolls i totally get chocolate, rum, even cherries

mouthfeel is smooth, warm high in alcohol

overall a very good beer will be looking for more of this

Photo of thedoubler55
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a very dark brown, almost black in color, not to much head or lacing around the glass.

S: Slight hint of scotch and oak, and some brown sugar. Malts are present on the nose as well.

T:The alcohol is not so present, hints of maple and oak, very easy drinker for the high abv, and good taste as well.

M: Not to much carbonation, a bit sticky and good heavyness on the mouthfeel.

O: Very good scotch ale, great tasting and smooth, founders does it again.

Photo of kbrown
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark crimson. Creamy tan head retained after pour.

Smell- Fresh glazed donuts, nutmeg, bourbon, malts, cinnamon, vanilla.

Taste - Sweet fig & bread balanced so well by the hop backbone. The bourbon adds the complexity that you expect.

Mouthfeel- Hearty, smooth throughout. Favorable aftertaste.

Overall- Unique. This blows away any wee heavy that I' ve had.

Photo of csrbv
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a Maredsous Tulip Glass.

Appearance: rich red-brown hue with plenty of haze. Very little frothy tan foam with a bit of an amber cast. Quite good.

Smell: very sweet aroma, to the point of a malt molasses, perhaps. Along with that is a good woody aroma from the barrel, contributing vanilla and almond-like character. Very good, although massively sweet.

Taste: sweet malt, vanilla, alcohol, more sweetness, an oak woodiness, and finally a bit of bitterness at the end. The alcohol lends a bit of dark fruit character, cherry and plum. I like a lot of the flavors here. Good, but doesn't taste quite as good as it smells.

Mouthfeel: huge body, great carbonation, silky smooth creamy wonderful texture. The body on this thing is just massive, as the sweetness ought to indicate. Wonderful.

Overall: I know this is supposed to be a strong beer, but it is so smooth, quite a good beer!

Serving type: bottle

Photo of tlema1
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Creamy, lingering sweetness, boozy finish

Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 200th beer review on Beer Advocate and its one of my favorites anywhere in the world. Granted ive reviewed 500 plus beers I only have so much time to record them all on here, so its very much a work in progress, but this is one that deserves to be written about.

12 oz brown stubby Founders style bottle with may be my favorite from Founders. Label is of a dude looking like he's straight out of the backwoods in my home state of Kentucky. He is the backwoods bastard and the artwork is simply bad ass. The colors are just meant to be paired together. I've poured this in many styles of glassware over the last few years, but my favorite for this is a nonic pint glass or a stemmed tulip style glass.

A - dark mirky brown with highlights of burnt brown and ruby red. Head is of a small size but leaves a nice ring of splotchy lace with some decent stick. This brew is gorgeous regardless of the head with its cloud covered body and the small sediment floating about.

S - sweet caramel with a load of bourbon goodness up front. Rich vanillas and oak barrels. Darkest of fruits with some cinnamon like spice, and a touch of smoke. Barrel aged aromas at its finest. Even hints of milk chocolate from the bourbon oak in the finish. Nice whiffs of faint Booze as backwoods warms.

T - lovely rich caramel notes to start with the more desired bourbon notes of vanilla, chewy caramel, and a charred Oakiness. A nice solid hit of dark fruit blends lovely with the bourbon sweets. Spice provides lovely but soft cinnamon stick notes. A touch of chocolate just before a bourbon barrel inspired finish with an awesome booziness that only grows in depth as it warms.

M - full bodied and creamy mouthfeel. Thick as usual from Founders and packed with loads of mouth coating flavor. The thickness and texture is an example of perfection. Some booze but the bourbon barrel characters are to die for. A highly enjoyable beer.

O - I love Backwoods Bastard and its one of my highlights, beer wise, every late Fall. It's a simply stunning Bourbon Barrel giant and a true 'as good as it gets' type creation. The definition of perfection with a nice, big wee heavy and bourbon barrel brilliance!

Photo of barhoc11
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Let it warm up, maltiness balances out with the bourbon closer to cellar temperatures

Photo of NilocRellim
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on tap in a 10oz pour. Had a hazy brown/ruby tint. Poured a yellowish/tan head that slowly faded down. The smell had a maple syup nose to it. We sat with a couple of friends that thought it had a strong whiskey smell, but we thought it was on par with most scotch ales. the ale was fairly complex and went through multiple flavour changes. It started off with a sweet maple flavour, which faded bitter and then finished sweet and scotchy. Aftertaste notes of fig or almond which lingered nicely on the palate.

Would I buy it again? Yes.

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this from a 12 oz. bottle and on tap at the Bryant lake Bowl.
A: Brilliant chestnut under a half inch light tan foam collar.
S: bourbon, alcohol, rich malt.
T: Alcoholic, definite bourbon, some chocolate notes, kettle sugars, malty-grainy spice, bitter finish, vanilla.
F: Chewy, smooth, medium carbonation,
O: Manages a three way balance between the hops, the alcohol and the bitters. A pleasant after dinner beer.

Photo of timc100
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

right fresh

Absolutely beautiful looking beer. Deep, dark ruby and dark brown mix - huge creamy amber tinted beige head, fantastic lacing and retention for a barrel aged beer - big bubbles, alcohol legs laced across the glass.

It is not a overly aromatic beer, more suble. Tons of oak, bourbon soaked oak, oaky vanilla and very slight coconut, bourbon-soaked oak caramel as well as earthy tobacco. When it reaches room temp notes of cocoa powder, toasted brown sugar, toffee, and very slight dark fruits, shine through

Incredibly balanced and well blended. A lot like the nose in that it's oak dominate. Slight bourbon heat - tastes bigger than the aroma suggested. Rich caramel, oaky vanilla, some cocoa powder, sticky alcohol sugar. Incredibly smooth mouthfeel - medium/full body that complements the beer greatly. Very low carbonation, fittingly.

This is a fantastic beer - one I look forward to every year.

Photo of spacecake9
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

This is a very enjoyable beer. Those of you who shy away from bourbon barrel aged beers should try this one. Yes it is there and you can taste it but it does not dominate. Another great beer from Founders. Very good!

Photo of mfunk9786
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

As someone who was introduced to scotch ales through Magic Hat's Jinx seasonal (which is still oft mourned by me, as there aren't many widely available low-cost scotch ales); this is at about the end of the spectrum in terms of intensity, learning curve, and ultimately - satisfaction.

A: Beautiful. Dark reddish brown, like a fine piece of furniture. Head is off-white with quite a bit of retention and lacing, which is refreshing and appealing for such a high alcohol brew.

S: Whoa. Once you take a whiff of this one, you realize you're in a whole different stratosphere than even other bourbon/scotch/whiskey barrel-aged beers. There is a strong smell of fine liquor, with brown sugar and vanilla bringing up the rear. Even if you don't like brown liquors, this beer BEGS you to take a sip.

T: Over the course of a 4-pack, this one has grown on me significantly. If you take a nice hearty sip and let the beer slide down your throat without just gulping it nervously, you start to sense the depth of character. It's still dominated by bourbon, but there are strong vanilla, molasses, and sweet oak flavors that come out to play. The aftertaste is more bourbon with a unique alcohol burn. Even for a 10%er, the alcohol warmth is far more noticeable than usual for a beer (and I'm guessing that's by design).

M: The mouthfeel is very nice due to the strong carbonation and warm boozy after-effects of each sip. You can sense the hard work that went into this beer when you consider that the extra carbonation goes a long way in reminding you that you're drinking beer - if they'd undercarbonated this one it'd just taste like some sort of bourbon equivalent of a wine cooler.

D: This is the only category that's not perfect, because it takes a long while to down one of these, and it's not for everyone. Even for me, someone who has given this beer aces all the way through this review, it takes quite a bit of effort, however satisfying each sip may be. There's just no way you can give this beer a high drinkability rating, regardless of how delicious it is.

Seek this one out. And get more than one bottle, because you're going to like it more and more with each one. And for the love of God - drink it cold!

Photo of CortexBomb
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional new offering by Founders, and one that should only get better as it ages out more, unbelievable as it is. Backwoods Bastard is yet another experimental, aged beer, this time in Bourbon casks.

The appearance on this one is straight-up Dirty Bastard, blackish, but with purple highlights and a nice head. The smell combines the roasted malts and chocolate from Bastard with the distinct bourbon tinge from the cask and makes for one enticing aroma.

The taste on this is excellent. Take the standard Bastard formula of strong malty chocolate with a dark fruit tinge, and then add in the distinctive bite of bourbon from the barrel. The bourbon flavour shows up about half-way through, and does a nice job of taking over the show without completely destroying everything else the beer is trying to do. The finish on this is a more intense version of the standard alcohol shot and warming that normal Bastard gives you. Great stuff.

The mouthfeel, just like Bastard, is full, all around rock solid. Drinkability, well, this is going to depend on what you're used to drinking, but I had no problem drinking a 12 ounce of this.

The bottom line: Founders does some of the best barrel aged products around. Kentucky Breakfast, Old Curmudgeon, the Bourbon Stout, and now this are amongst my favourite offerings by the brewery. Be sure to check this out if you're in the GR area anytime soon.

Photo of TWStandley
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Poured from the bottle into my KtG snifter. Bottled 9/2011.

Appeared a dark brown color with a 1 finger, light brown head that dissipated quickly.

Immediately hit with strong bourbon scents, followed by some butterscotch, toffee, molasses, and a bit of char.

Taste is exceptional. Sweet up front giving way to more creamy vanilla flavors. Finishes with a bit of a hop bit and a slow bourbon burn. Incredibly complex yet balanced.

Moutfeel is good - not too syrupy but not too thin either. Carbonation has held up well.

Overall - this is fantastic. I love what a few years have done to this one. Bourbon has died down considerably from when it is fresh which has balanced it much more and made it a bit more drinkable. Fantastic!

Founders Backwoods Bastard from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 7,025 ratings.